2018 marks the start of a new chapter in the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) work. For the first time, fund-raisers are allowed to earmark donations for a special project they have chosen to support – and Fantasy Faire is going to do precisely that, supporting the Kenyatta National Hospital Hope Hostel, with all proceeds from this year Faire going towards this ground-breaking international project.
Since the 1970s, ACS has built and managed more than 30 Hope Lodge facilities across the United States and in Puerto Rico. These provide free accommodations for cancer patients and their caregivers during treatment. More than a place to stay, a Hope Lodge can be an essential part of cancer care for many. In 2014, for example, over 44,000 cancer patients and caregivers stayed at a Hope Lodge for a total of over 276,000 free nights of accommodation and a range of facilities such as a social centre, library, and laundry. For some of these people, it saved them from facing the impossible choice between receiving treatment and paying the bills at home.
Now ACS has decided to broaden the project and establish Hope Lodges internationally – and the first is being created in Kenya, where cancer is the third leading cause of death. Approximately 40,000 new cases out of the nation’s 45 million population are diagnosed every year, and some 28,500 Kenyans die from the disease annually. What’s more, while cancer mortality rates in developed nations have fallen as treatment and preventative measures have improved, in Africa they’ve remain unchanged for 30 years.
Currently, the only public comprehensive cancer treatment centre in Kenya is located at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi. This means patients must travel from all over the country to KNH to receive treatment. However, accommodation is at a premium – many Kenyans simply cannot afford the US $4 or $5 a night cost of lodging while receiving treatment at the hospital. This leaves many patients sleeping in the hospital’s corridors (for which the KNH has been repeatedly chastised) or worse, outside. Exposed to the elements, without the means to bathe or prepare a proper meal, many of these patients have their chances of survival is greatly compromised.
Hence why Kenya has been chosen to become home to a Hope Lodge, and ACS have decided to partner with the Kenyatta National Hospital to create it.
Located within the campus grounds of the KNH, the Hope Hostel will cost an estimated US $2 million – an amount that will guarantee both the construction of the facilities and cover two years of operating costs. Once operational, the Hope Hostel will serve more than 1,000 cancer patients annually, providing free temporary housing and integrated hospital services, such as post-operative care and pain management. In addition, the Hostel will provide an on-site resource centre where patients and caregivers can obtain cancer information and resources, and offer a place where patients can rest during the day.
The KNH Hope Hostel will not only provide people from around the country a place to stay during treatment, but also a place to heal physically and spiritually.
Lily Koros Tare – CEO, Kenyatta National Hospital
Fantasy Faire is taking on this lead role in both raising funds and awareness of the Kenyatta National Hospital Hope Hostel at the direct request of Stingray Raymaker, known in the physical world as Jeff Montegut, the Director of On-line Revenue at Relay For Life.
Fantasy Faire has raised so much money for RFL in the last nine years, and I know that 2018 will be huge. Big number TEN and all! So, what do you think about the idea that all money raised by Fantasy Faire in 2018 could go to helping us build the Hope Lodge in Kenya?
– Stingray Raymaker
Relay For Life of Second Life is a global fund-raising activity, but it has often been seen as raising money for an American organisation which spends that money only in the United States. This is not an accurate reflection of things – as
By taking on fund-raising for the KNH Hope Hostel, Fantasy Faire is further correcting such misconceptions in a practical and life-saving way. One which further extends the family of Second Life relayers, as the Fantasy Faire management team point out:
The survivors, caregivers and medical staff at Kenyatta National Hospital are every bit as much our brothers and sisters in the fight against cancer as those in our own home towns, and we can’t tell you how proud we are to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with them … today we welcome the chance to join new friends and colleagues in our global mission to make cancer history …
Fairelanders, let’s show our new friends just what we can do.
Elizabeth Tinsley, Da5id Abbot and Zander Greene.